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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

The Neocon Media Machine

"A Great Little Racket": The Neocon Media Machine
By Eli Clifton

From high-brow intellectualism to tabloid spin, the neoconservative movement has evolved in ways that its early progenitors could hardly have imagined. The result is a well-oiled media machine that continues to impact policymaking, even as the neoconservatives themselves fall deeper into ill repute. Read full story.

RELATED RIGHT WEB PROFILES

Irving Kristol
The founder of a number of influential neoconservative journals, Irving Kristol’s media enterprise helped blaze the faction’s ideological trail. However, the neocon "godfather" has remained largely on the sidelines in the campaign to extend the war on terror and reshape the Middle East.

William Kristol
Cofounder of the Weekly Standard and the Project for the New American Century, William Kristol (son of Irving) spearheaded the neoconservative resurgence in U.S. politics in the 1990s and played a key role championing the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror.

National Interest
Founded by Irving Kristol in the mid-1980s to serve as a foreign affairs counterpart to his public policy outlet the Public Interest, the National Interest has in recent years turned into a forum of fierce debate over the best course for U.S. foreign policy, pitting realists against neoconservatives.

Weekly Standard
"Speaking to and for power," the neoconservative incubator Weekly Standard, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, has been an effective champion of U.S. overseas adventurism.

Rupert Murdoch
With Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and some 175 additional media holdings at his disposal, Murdoch and his News Corp. have been formidable friends of the Bush administration and its neocon allies.

Norman Podhoretz
Editor of the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary for decades, Norman Podhoretz has shaped many of the themes that have become core elements of neoconservative discourse—the fight against "appeasement," overcoming "moral weakness," the centrality of the Holocaust, and the righteousness of U.S. military power. More recently, he has become a vocal champion of the notion that America is currently engaged in a deadly global struggle that he terms "World War IV."

John Podhoretz
"JPod," as he is known in some corners of the blogosphere, is a neocon scion who contributes to a number of News Corp. media outlets, including Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and the New York Post. He frequently mixes pop culture with politics and is terrified by the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Robert Kagan
Columnist for the Washington Post, writer for the Weekly Standard, cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of a several influential books on U.S. foreign policy, Kagan is a true believer in the efficacy of hard power who supports higher troop levels in Iraq.

Charles Krauthammer
With his columns appearing in the Washington Post and dozens of other U.S. newspapers, Krauthammer is a highly influential proponent of the neocon agenda, including expanding the war on terror to Iran and Syria and imposing democracy on U.S. opponents.

Max Boot
From his perch at outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the Weekly Standard, Max Boot, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, justifies torture, calls for occupying foreign oil fields, and argues for embracing America’s "imperial role."

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Featured Profiles

Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


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From the Wires

Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only appears to be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is also responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs, combat aircraft, and tactical assistance.


The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


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